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2:19 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Santorum Ally Friess Praises Old-School 'Contraceptive': Aspirin Between Knees

Originally published on Fri February 17, 2012 8:01 am

Foster Friess, Rick Santorum's billionaire supporter, drew some attention from his candidate Thursday with a comment about contraception that was, to say the least, unusual and surefire fodder for late-night TV comedians .

MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell asked Friess about the Republican presidential candidate's very conservative views on social issues and whether he had any worries that they could be disadvantageous to Santorum in the general election.

Friess not only didn't think so; he indicated he didn't see what all the fuss was about. And then he dispensed some advice about contraceptives:

MITCHELL: Do you have any concerns about some of his comments on social issues, contraception, about women in combat, and whether that would hurt his general election campaign would he be the nominee?

FRIESS: I get such a chuckle when these things come out. Here we have millions of our fellow Americans unemployed; we have jihadist camps being set up in Latin America, which Rick has been warning about; and people seem to be so preoccupied with sex. I think it says something about our culture. We maybe need a massive therapy session so we can concentrate on what the real issues are. And this contraceptive thing, my gosh, it's [so] inexpensive. Back in my day, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly.

MITCHELL: Excuse me, I'm just trying to catch my breath from that, Mr. Friess, frankly.

So according to Friess, before the pill there was another pill. Many of us consider aspirin a miracle drug, but this use was news to many of us who came of age in a later era than the 71-year-old Friess.

It's not often that you see Mitchell thrown for a loop by an interviewee's answer.

Friess pretty much ensured that on a day when Santorum would rather be talking about his plans for revitalizing U.S. manufacturing, he would instead be asked, and probably more than once, about Friess as well as the curious uses to which aspirin has been put.

Another obvious point: Anyone who thinks aspirin held between a woman's knees is an effective contraceptive or even a good abstinence joke definitely wouldn't get all the hubbub over reproductive rights.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK, so while Rick Santorum is enjoying a lead in the Michigan polls, he did have to do some damage control last night after a comment made by a very important supporter. Foster Friess has contributed to hundreds of thousands of dollars to a superPAC that supports Santorum, and yesterday, Mr. Friess appeared on MSNBC. He weighed in on the debate over the new Obama administration rules for contraceptive health care coverage.

(SOUNDBITE OF MSNBC BROADCAST)

FOSTER FRIESS: And this contraceptive thing, my gosh, it's such inexpensive - you know, back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn't that costly.

INSKEEP: Host Andrea Mitchell was speechless for several seconds. People on Twitter and Facebook were not speechless at all. Mr. Friess' remark prompted an avalanche of remarks about how people would never regard aspirin quite the same way again. Santorum went on Fox News later, where he called the comment a bad, off-color joke. And today, Foster Friess apologized in a blog post, asking forgiveness from those who found the remark offensive. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.